Chris Mills to play at Frankie’s after five-year hiatusWritten by Matt Liasse | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Mills will release his first album in five years on Jan. 21. What has he been up to all this time?
“Getting married, having kids, you know, basically becoming an adult,” Mills said.
Mills got married in 2009 and welcomed his daughter in 2013, but music hasn’t been far from his mind. He’s been dabbling in education, creating programs concerning music for schools. Mills will play at 9 p.m. on Jan. 31 at Frankie’s Inner-City, 308 Main St. celebrating his return.
“I missed having something new to work on [though],” Mills said.
Mills has plenty of new things ahead: a new band, album and a tour in upcoming weeks. But all three he stumbled upon; he planned none of it.
“It was all kind of circumstance,” Mills said.
While traveling outside of Oslo, Norway in 2008, Mills was attracted to a bar after hearing live music from outside. Inside, the band Distant Stars was playing, but Mills was struck by their pianist, Christer Knutsen.
“He’s a really thoughtful player; he really has a great feel for whatever he’s playing,” Mills said. “He really brought something to the show.”
Mills approached the pianist after the show, a meeting that began a friendship. After talking for a half hour, Knutsen said he was a fan and collected Mills’ records.
“Randomly, he knew all about me and knew all my stuff, and was a fan,” Mills said. “He’s such an amazing player so it feels silly to call him a fan. But he knew my stuff inside and out.”
Mills made it back to Norway over the years and the two collaborated each time they met up. Their collaborations became “Alexandria,” an album Mills and the Distant Stars will promote with a tour for the next few months.
“Once we decided that we wanted to do a project together, it sort of lit the fire for me to get writing again and to really dive back into that process,” Mills said.
The album, which features tracks “Blooms,” “Quiet Corners” and current single “Castaways,” is featured as a pre-order on bandcamp.com.
The album begins with the stripped down track “Wild Places,” which features Mills’ vocals front and center. Mills said he intentionally put it as the first track because it sets up the theme that follows.
“I really wanted to have something that kind of set the tone for the record. It’s a little bit of a mission statement,” Mills said. “I wanted to have a slow entry point to ease your way in and then, with the second track, really kind of hit the ground running.”
Mills said the lyrics of “Wild Places” sets up what the rest of the album is about – traveling, experiencing and finding your way back.
“I think it’s like a travel log,” Mills said.
Mills said “Alexandria” is his most honest album to date.
“I think as you get older, you start to know yourself better,” Mills said. “The more I start to know who I am … the more that gets reflected in the song[s].”